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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11576
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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Sonoma County California - Im currently buying a property:

Resolved Question:

Sonoma County California - I'm currently buying a property:

1. Our property comes with an easement to share water rights with a neighbor for a monthly fee.

The agreement appears to spell out that these neighbors CANNOT use this water for 1.) "commercial agriculture" nor 2.) "sell or export it" beyond their own property use., and 3.) pumping is not to exceed 10 gpm.

Concerns:

A.) Should the well or equipment fail, we are responsible for total costs of repair and/or drilling a new well. A potentially large liability. However, we are able to collect $53/mo for electricity/maintenance ongoing.

Question:

1.) Easement states their water pumping "not to exceed 10 gpm". This is still potentially an enormous quantity of water should they run it 24/7. (Normal household uses 300-500 g/day... which would be only 50 minutes at 10 gpm.)

Given the forementioned restrictions should I try to amendment the easement before purchase to protect us from the neighbors and/or their heirs from taking large quantities as much as 10 gpm 24/7?

I was tempted to suggest putting a meter on their water line and proposing a very generous "cap" of say, "1000 gallons per day". After which we would charge a standard municipal rate.

They're is no current "incentive" for them to change any of this wording, other than good faith agreement with new neighbors (and we're all trying to start out with a better understanding of the situation.)
Thank you,
Paul
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service,

Without any change in how your neighbor is to pay for his water usage, You will be incurring tremendous liability and potentially a hostile neighbor. Either one would cause you difficulty both in living there and selling the property, should you wish to sell it at some point in the future.

If I were in your position, I would make the sale contingent on some type of agreement with the neighbor. Since it would be difficult to get anyone to agree to limiting usage, I would suggest that the seller get the neighbor to agree to a meter. That would be the best way to resolve potential problems in the future. I am suggesting that the seller do this because he has an established relationship with the neighbor and if he does ot agree to a meter with the seller, that most certainly means he will not agree to the installation of a meter with you.

In addition, since the neighbor is benefitting from this arrangement, there should also be a provision in the agreement that he will contribute to the cost of opening up a new well, if this becomes necessary. These are very reasonable requests. If the arrangement does not change, then you will continue to bear the burden and the neighbor will be enjoying all the benefits. If you wait until after settlement, you will have no leverage. At least, if you make these requests now and the neighbor refuses, you will not have to buy the property. If you wait until after settlement, you will have to live with this liability,


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Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11576
Experience: I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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